Local teen visiting the school in Haiti she helped build

At just 14, Taylor DeVos has raised $15,000 to build two schools in Haiti. Credit: Taylor DeVos

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — It would be an understatement to say Taylor DeVos has done a lot for her age.

At just 14, the teenager has had a helping hand in building two schools in Haiti, spoken at WeDay in Saskatoon, placed runner up in TedxTeen’s ‘The Next Big Thing’ video competition, and started her own platform — One Kid Making a Difference — to inspire and educate other teens to help create change in the world.

It was a camping trip when she was only nine that got her passionate and eventually lead to her organization. When Taylor couldn’t find another channel to watch, she took in a World Vision program and was forced to acknowledge her privilege as a child living in Canada.

On her tenth birthday, her parents fulfilled her one wish: to sponsor a child, Mesline, in Haiti through World Vision. Taylor’s sister also has a sponsor child, Manocheca.

After learning of the 2010 earthquake that devastated the country, she was driven to build two schools in Haiti, with a fundraising goal of $15,000 to accomplish it. Taylor found support and was able to reach the ambitious goal, donating it in June 2014 so that two schools could be built.

Now, she is heading to Balan, Haiti, to revisit what she has done for the community for a week.

“We’re going to visit one of the schools that I built, and we’re going to visit my sponsor child, and my sister’s sponsor child,” she explained to Energetic City.

“I want to meet everybody and see how their ways of living are compared to ours in Canada, and make relationships, and see the impact I’ve made on the kids in Haiti.”

Taylor is now starting her high school years, and has a new goal to reach — she wants to provide access to education for as many Malawian girls as possible before she graduates high school. Promoting more education for women and children is one of the causes she is now passionate about.

For every year a girl receives an education, she has the potential to increase her income by anywhere from 10-25%. Her education also benefits her children. Educated mothers tend to have healthier children. Children born to literate mothers are 50% more likely to survive past the age of 5. Children with educated mothers are also more likely to be educated themselves. As well, her education can benefit her community and her nation. If 10% more girls attend school, a country can raise its GDP by an average of 3%. When women and girls receive an education, they are able to not only lift themselves out of poverty, but their families and communities as well, causing an impact that lasts for generations.

To help promote more education for women and children in Malawi, One Kid Making a Difference is partnering with World Vision for the cause.

Donations to this campaign will help in many ways, such as providing textbooks, as well as making schools a comfortable place for the girls to be, and even sponsor 2 ‘best learners’ to visit a local college.